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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Jul 12, 2006 6:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

For the folks I hear people complain about Donna's voice and Keith's playing - Chew on this.

Never hear anyone mention that Keith played with only one drummer for the greatest part of his career with the band. (71 - 74) It would be interesting to know how the REaddition of Mickey after the hiatus affected Keith's feel and input. We'll never know since he took those thoughts to his grave.

Now, I am not alone in the feeling that this period especially 72-74 is what I consider the greatest music ever made by the dead. So, how can anyone ever complain about his playing during that timeframe?

Yeah, Yeah, I hear all you 77 freaks cringing but 77 playing was great because it was tight not the truely improvisational and exploratory playing of 72-74.

The real question, I believe is why the band could no longer swing, explore and turn corners so smoothly and sometimes quickly after the readdition of Mickey and the return to the two drummer format. Billy is without a doubt the most under appreciated member of the Dead!!!! That comes from a Jerry / Phil freak.

Nough said about Donna, she was only a backup singer. Like eveyone already said, sometimes good, sometimes not.

What are your opinions about Mickey's changing the course of the "Renaissance" ???????????????

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jul 14, 2006 8:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

It's a fair question, but I truly believe Keith's troubles had more to do w/interpersonal stuff w/Donna, the toll of the road travel and drugs on his psyche and body, and general wear and tear.

yeah, the 72-74 period is genius stuff, but I don't think Mickey threw Keith off as much as Keith threw himself off over time.

As regarding 1977, yep, i'm one of those '77 fetishists who believe the band was never better than that year, but I respectfully disagree that it was only b/c they were so tight in their nailing of the songs. (Part of the reason they WERE so tight, btw, is because the set lists they played were very very similar throughout the year, so they were very practiced and familiar w/the material they were playing, and that's about the only critcism I have for that year, and it's not much of one--i'd rather hear brilliantly played but similar set lists than sloppily-played, varied set lists--just my personal preference).

But 1977 was more than tight. The band had a groove and a flow and a fluidity and a relaxed approach that combined with sick and intense fiery jams. Can you really say otherwise when you listen to a random 'Other One' from say, June of that year, or Eyes from the fall run, or the insane Help-Slip_franklins? The Half Step from 11-6-77? I would put anything they played in 72-74 up against a '77 with total confidence that the '77 would include more intense jams (i.e. Jack Straw, Ramble, Sugar mag, Wharf Rat) in longer formats as well. One caveat: Can't recall any Birdsongs from that year, and they played the best Birdsongs ever in '72 and 73.

Other reasons '77 ruled the roost: A scarcity of lyrical flubs (always bothered me), the introduction of new material from Terrapin that would become instant classics, including some of the best terrapins themselves ever played, outstanding vocals from Garcia, and plenty of strong stuff from the aforementioned Keith, if you're lucky enough to have good recordings that allow the ear to hear them.

I concede that they didn't do the kind of space-jamming DarkStar stuff of 72-74 but in a way that's apples and oranges and simply subjective. I don't care to hear 17 minutes of space noodling and feedback and Phil solos leading into a morning dew when I can hear a ripping Other One into Stephen or Wharf Rat or Black Peter or Eyes, etc., into a just as good (i'd say better) Dew in the end.

BTW, all of this coming from someone who didn't see his first show until '79, so I'm not biased based on shows I personally went to. Just very adamant that while the band played scores of fantastic shows up until 1991 (I get very testy about the quality of anything after) they were never better overall and on average, than the incredible year of double 7.

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Poster: Spaced Date: Jul 14, 2006 9:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

>>lyrical flubs (always bothered me)>>

I found several of the "flubs" to be most revealing, as a cue or shedding light on another angle.

Not all of them were fun of course. I missed out on what they had at the beginning, but started catching up when I could sense the difficulties in "High Time" for example.

I read this week that Mickey said Jerry's chant for Allah in "Unusual Occurrances in the Desert" formed a desert chorus saying Allah, so there's plenty of close listening left to do.

-- Spaced in SF

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Poster: dstanme Date: Jul 16, 2006 2:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

grendelschoice, great post, man! Well writen, thoughtful and insighful, I agree with your assessment of the 77 shows. Although there are MANY 72-76 shows in my collection, the 77 spring run, specifically, and the year in general was an amazing period. Tight jams, healthy band members and creative musicianship seem to have been the key elenments.

Again, an excellent post!

This post was modified by dstan on 2006-07-16 21:40:01

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Poster: unclejohnnyd Date: Jul 16, 2006 1:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

Without a doubt the band was at it's most amazing peak 72-74 with ONE drummer Billy and with Keith. Keith and Billy are both way under rated imo. I think Mickey definately kept the band exploring new strange territories in later years when they might not have otherwise but as far as the songs go - they often bogged down with two drummers as someone previously said.

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Poster: AshesRising Date: Jul 13, 2006 12:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

Hello "Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer"
-- This is a great post to ponder but one in which we will never know the Truth. It goes along with my thoughts about what went down in the Grateful Dead circles after June 1976 but before October 1976 that had so much of...shall we say, "influence"...on the individuals and the band as a whole. Listen to the June Chicago show (1976-06-29) and then listen to either of the Swing shows (1976-10-14/15) That is a relatively short amount of time and they are playing a lot of gigs and creating the "Terrapin" album as well. Sure, they had time to get back in the groove after being away for touring for 18-months, but, for me, it goes beyond just that fact alone.
I understand your question and I think two things are occurring:
1.) Yes, Keith may have had difficulty incorporating Mickey's dominant presence into his own style. Keith's playing at the Garcia Band shows during the same time-frane seems to have taken away a lot of pressure on him and allowed him the freedon to roam his comfort zone, but he is still in the background.

2.) The second reason may be the one where the Truth is hidden. --- "things" have a more immediate and deeper impact on some individuals than others. Whatever went down between July of 1976 and October of 1976 may have had more of a deadly impact on Keith than the addition of Mickey.

Like I said above, "Old_NJ," we will probably never know the Truth, but it's just my opinion that "something else" was introduced to the band besides just Mickey.
....and now the more knowledgeable and articulate members of the forum can shred my opinion the way Jerry shreds "Morning Dew" at Cornell '77.

May we all find Peace someday soon, --- AshesRising

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Poster: GumpyGuppy Date: Jul 13, 2006 9:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

"Like I said above, "Old_NJ," we will probably never know the Truth, but it's just my opinion that "something else" was introduced to the band besides just Mickey. "

I thought "something else" was introduced in spring (Mar) of 77. Remeber reading this in 'A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead, Dennis McNally, 2002'

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Poster: AshesRising Date: Jul 13, 2006 4:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

"GumpyGuppy:"
First, thank you for not tearing me apart on a personal level which used to be a bit too prevalent on this web site.
I appreciate the tip -- after reading a couple of articles in 1995 I stayed away from everything written about Jerry and the Grateful Dead and just stuck with Hunter's archive once it was created. I just looked up this book on Amazon and it appears to be a decent book, especially considering who wrote it.
Thank you,- AshesRising

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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Jul 13, 2006 4:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

I think Micky was a hinderence at first- later, though, he was to bring world music influences and new technology to the band to help create a whole new sound in the percussion section- so his input did have a big impact mostly for the good in the mid 80's and onward- before this site i had not listened to much 73-74- and had no idea how good Billy was- especially during those Miles and coltranish Dark stars in that period- magnificent

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Poster: Bear in 29206 Date: Jul 18, 2006 6:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

How I'd wish to have seen some of these 72-74 shows! I've always had the same feel; that with one drummer the boys were looser and more experimental in their sound. Always had that feel. And, Keith seemed to step up, or otherwise fill in the percussion "void". Real piano vs the electric....always liked the real one too!

The 6-22-73 PNE show is one of my favs from this period thanks to the Archive.

But...
The '77 stretch is where my experience (live) is more relevant and I've got to say the jazzier parts of the '73 material still takes the cake.
Jam on!
Ken
PS Colgate 11-4-77 still rules for '77! 'Was there!

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Poster: sonomajon Date: Jul 18, 2006 7:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

Yeah,

Colgate was perhaps the most fun I ever had at a show! There weren't many of us there but from the first notes of Bertha the place was jumpin'...One of my favorite BEW of all time...Jones Bros etc...What a fu**in night!

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Poster: Bear in 29206 Date: Jul 18, 2006 9:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

And it waz!

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Jul 13, 2006 6:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

Every interview I've read regarding the interplay within the band had to do with each player finding a "frequency" or niche that they could inhabit without saturating a tonal area. For example, Weir moved his rhythm playing further and further up the neck to a higher register than the keyboards. In some ways his playing was very minimalist, simply complimenting evry other players space. With the rhythm section which includes the bass player, it's a bit of a different animal. The Allman Brothers Band and the Dead are probably the exception rather than the rule, having two "kit" drummers and getting away with it. It's most likely because of the more melodic tendencies of Lesh and Berry Oakley rather than simply supplying "bottom end" to the groove. Less talented, or maybe less forceful bass players would get swallowed up by the presence of a two kit drum section. From a critical standpoint, Billy was always very understated in his playing, but a human metronome. The first Garcia album should be considered the benchmark for his playing style. In contrast, Mickey always seemed a little more forceful and a lot more sloppy. In live situations, I noticed Garcia cueing or notifying the drum section to tighten up the tempo a lot more than when Billy was the sole drummer. You'll also note that when the tempo dragged, Phil normally wasn't playing up to par as well. This also happened a lot more with Mickey in the mix. In addition, the added drummer didn't allow the band to "turn on a dime" in terms of spontaneous exploration. You probably can't blame that on Mickey, but just getting everybody on cue to move in a different direction often took several bars to accomplish. Overall, I've found the band to be more sluggish and less "musical" with two drummers. With Billy, the Dead were a competent band, capable of phenomenal improvisation. With Mickey, they seemed to be a behemoth, difficult to maneuver and often stuck with a dragging tempo throughout whole shows.

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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Jul 13, 2006 8:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Never mind Keith and Donna - How about Mickey ?

Not having been to many Garcia Dead shows, I really appreciated Billy when he played with Phil and Friends here >> http://www.archive.org/details/1999-07-03.paf.sbd.mattman.18900.sbeok.flacf
Which I saw live, IMHO, He fit in better than Molo and I like John Molo!